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Webinar Review: Addressing the challenges of Total Airport Management

On 22 November 2017, International Airport Review hosted a webinar in association with Leidos, which explored how best to deal with the complexities of airport ecosystems in the context of the whole airport process. Here Leidos colleagues John Bissett (Business and Account Director), Ade Edwards (Technical Director – Global Airports), and Andrew Evans (Airport Operations & Systems Expert), answer some key questions raised from the webinar.

Leidos

How does analysing data help to reshape the passenger experience?

Gathering data from all business processes is crucial. It allows a detailed understanding of functional and operational behaviours and the critical interplay between them.

The golden chalice is to be able to have all transaction data available in such a way that not only can it be assimilated by a community of stakeholders at speed, during a live operation, but the key performance drivers drawn out, combined and transposed into a result which guides an appropriated tactical management action. This information synergy allows critical decisions and actions to be targeted at driving optimised business productivity and to capitalising on targeted revenue opportunities, but, more acutely, it also allows the identification and transformation of potentially loss-making situations.

In many cases a business may only have the opportunity to bring together that critical knowledge and intelligence AFTER the fact, when the data is hours, days or even weeks old. In such situations the data can be transformed into strategic thinking, but this only allows themes and targets to be applied looking forwards, and, through a variety of reasons such as system or integration limitations or business reporting cycles, the transposition of the data is not agile enough to allow it to drive live decision making.

When active decision making is deployed, productivity and revenue loss situations can be identified ahead of time and mitigating actions put in place. Equally, performance can be consistently optimised and productivity opportunities proactively identified and exploited, thereby lowering the time any passenger is directly involved in an operational process transaction. This provides the opportunity for much more commercial dwell time for the passenger so that the availability and dynamics of an expansive range of commercial product offerings can add a layer of revenue optimisation. A happy customer is more likely to return, and is far more likely to both voluntarily contribute to the revenue of the airport and to influence the opinion of others to do the same.

Would improving non-aeronautical revenue opportunities help to improve airport ecosystems?

All revenue opportunities are crucial and the contribution of non-aeronautical revenue to an airport ecosystem is every bit as important as that of aeronautical revenue. Although greater product and service offerings within the ecosystem increase complexity, more significantly, they foster a greater choice for consumers and grow direct business development and employment opportunities at the airport, and enhance the business partnership proposition(s) for transport services.

The majority of consumers of an airport product – its passengers – will return based on their experience of an airport facility. A significant percentage of the revenue gained from each passenger at many airports is not aero-based. Ground-based transportation offerings and ancillary services therein (car parking, concierge etc.), along with concessionaire and leisure products, all have the power to contribute significant non-aero revenue and drive repeat and increased business for the airport. This can be directly invested in improving the dynamics of each service or product offering including anything from product aesthetics to technology, which all drives increased throughput, profit, and the ability of the business to track and manage its own performance. Contributions from individual partners and offerings to ecosystem pots also drive airport-wide development initiatives, and take the same product-themed benefits to a wider airport level, supporting and enabling anything from infrastructure enhancements, to contributing to contract subsidies and even the provision of wider technology enhancements, like Total Airport Management and A-CDM initiatives.

Is stakeholder engagement crucial in creating a successful airport ecosystem, and why?

It is beyond crucial; it is critically fundamental. An airport is a community of stakeholders, and a rich and colourful melting pot of service providers, exciting products and busy consumers. Within these varied and distinct business and service offerings, all of which are operating with similar visions and principles, are many interdependencies. With so many examples of this in each and every airport it is critical that all stakeholders collaborate to understand their place in the airport ecosystem; how they operate in relation to other stakeholders, how the interplay with other business elements works and, most importantly, allows an understanding of the key business performance triggers on these interdependencies that can positively and negatively impact business performance.

Knowing how process elements inter-relate is critical in understanding how performance in one area will drive a particular service environment in another area. Therefore the contribution of stakeholder input, output and performance metrics to a common data platform, crucially, allows the live mapping and tracking of process elements, which then underpins predictability and sustainability of the ecosystem. Performances in one area can then be proactively tweaked to positively cascade to other areas, but the proactive can become preventative as well. Mitigating factors can be put in place to prop up operational performance and de-couple problem areas from negatively impacting operations.

What does the term Total Airport Management mean to you?

With the previous discussion points considered, the key is to unchain the best and most accurate data within an airport community and to provide the mechanisms for that community to use it to drive the best possible business value in achieving maximum safety and operational compliance, customer satisfaction, productivity and revenue results for the lowest operational impact and operational/ capital expenditure.

The guiding principle of the platform is to provide that rich data analytical capability brought forward to the moment, to a community of users, to empower collaborative decision making across the entire airport operation that will really drive to-the-minute operational and business performance, and will allow live revenue-making and loss-avoidance opportunities to be seized. It will bring a vast spectrum of sources onto a common platform to allow performance synergies to be identified and exploited in existing areas, along with new ones where previously a relationship and interdependency in business drivers was not well known or understood.

The Total Airport Management concept then is creating the ability of the airport ecosystem to understand, manage and optimise itself, and to allow the ecosystem to support itself in finding new ways to continue achieving results on the bottom line, and to nurture the competitiveness and sustainability of the business into the years to come.

You can listen to John, Ade and Andrew’s webinar on demand by clicking here

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